Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Autobiography of Edith Marshall IV

Help came for the people in need in 1935 when FD Roosevelt was elected president.  That was when the WPA was initiated and people were given work under jurisdiction of their state government, also the CCC camps came into being where the youth of the nation were given work cleaning trails and work to be done in the country's forests. 

Hope was once more born in the hearts of the people.  Those who had been on welfare were being given jobs, which restored confidence and hpooe for a better life once again.  It was a time when my confidence was reforn and I went seeking a home for our family.  We had moved five times in one year and I had no intention of having to move again.  Ralph was not sure that it was the teim when we could afford a down payment and it did seem impossible, for he had just started to work at Sand Point.  But my mind was much made up, and I went looking to see what could be accomplished toward finding something.  I think God worked a miracle for us that day.  I inquired at the real estate office of B- Homes in West Seattle, telling the older man who was in charge that day that I could pay $30 down and $60 within 90 days.  That seemed to be all right with him, and he showed me the little house on 40th SW which almost at once became our home.  The house was old, and the basement was full of water, but that didn't matter: it was close to the schools and it was a place we could call our own, and we wouldn't have to move again.  It took a long time, about 20 years, for us to pay for it, and there was much to take care of, but new siding and a roof were applied, fixing the walls in the basement so that the flooding was taken care of.  Later a new furnace was put in, but the problem of only one bathroom remained.  I wonder now how we ever managed, but it was home!

The children all grew up there, went to scohol and church in the neigborhood.  It was from there that Stan enlisted in the (GCS?), a branch of the service in Alaska.  It was while living there that Shirli met John Strong and was married to him in Dec. following her graduation from high school in June.  It was at the practice of that wedding ceremony that Gloria met Paul Swanson who later became her husband. 

Our little house seemed almost to burst at the seams, with seven of us, plus all the young people who gathered there.  Many young service men came as well as school friends of our children. 

It was a time of great stress, for we were in the middle of World War II, when all good citizens felt responsible to help in the war effort.  Having two sons in the service and later the third, I felt it a privilege to give as much help and support to other young men as possible. 

One day Ralph, who was working at the Bremerton Navy Yard, came home and told of a young sailor whom he had invited to come home with him for dinner.  A few nights later he came.  He was a handsome boy (he was only seventeen), and had a way about him that found a place in my heart.  Whenever his ship (the Lexington) was in port, he came to our home whenever possible.  He was, I felt, just a scared little boy, and we gave him a sense of security, for he said that he always felt safe in our home.  He felt the Lord was there. 

Those days of fear and doubt now seem to far removed, but they were merely stepping stones that led to higher heights and a stronger, better life.  The days of poverty and grief were merely stepping stones chiseled out o fhte rock with little steps going upward.  We can struggle against many odds, but unless we start the climb upward, we shall remain on the first step of that rock and be destroyed by the (fiercest) storms of life.  Steps upward can be precarious but we have an "Anchor," the "Good Shepherd" who really cares, for He was poor for our sakes too.  Each step has its own hazards, but these are stepping stones of life and Peter tells us: "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trials," for there will always be a slippery slope of sickness on which we may feel that we shall surely fall, but the Master reaches out His rod; we grasp it and are safe.  There is also the stepping stone of failure.  This is a grievious stone which is so rough it seems to tear at our feet, which causes us much pain and we wonder if we can make it.  We are reminded once again of David's assurance in Ps. 23: "Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."  There is comfort for the weary, and new strength for our climb upwards.  And so through all the storms of life we are comforted and strengthened as we look to the Shepherd of our souls. 

I was never quite sure what Paul meant when he said, "When I am weak, then I am strong."  But we can only become strong (spiritually which I think Paul meant) when we are willing to confess that we are weak, and are willing to accept His strength. 

My family all came to that time when they needed "His strength" and accepted it.  We are all stepping on some slippery stones from time to time, but underneath are the "Everlasting Arms" and we go on with our faith renewed and strengthened in the inner man / woman. 

Our family of five children has grown now with ten grandchildren and one great-grandson.

John, my first son-in-law, has been a pastor and a schoolteacher for many years, and how his son David is following in his father's footsteps.  I am so proud of him as I am of his brother .  My very first grandson John, who is a doctor now stationed with the Air Force in Germany.  Deborah, John's and Shirli's only daughter, is also a very special person, at present teaching a class of retarded children and working on her Masters.  I have much pride in Marlys, Gloria and Paul's only child, woh is employed as a registered nurse.  John and Pat have four children: Laurel who is married to Rand Fullington and is a bank officer.  Steve is a policeman in Kirkland and is being mightily used by God.  David and Peter live at home, but David is hoping to go to China as, I think, a missionary.  

Dayle -- Ron and Phyllis' son - is married to a little southern girl (a very lovely one) and living in Florida. Cindi is working for SPU and it also taking some classes hoping to graduate as a CPA.  

I feel that I am greatly blessed with all my family.  They are all very precious to me and while that climb up from the very depths of poverty was a most difficult one, I am so fortunate that the Lord chose me for this task.  There is just one note of sadness that I feel inclined to add, the fact that my precious first-born son Stan could not have a son of his own.  He would have been a very wonderful father, but God in His infinite mercy knows what is best for us all, so I accept that and thank Him for knowing what is best for us all.  

Autobiography of Edith Marshall: A Meeting at Alki

 A Meeting at Alki

Life really began for me on a Sunday in late May.  It was to be an afternoon of recreation for a girlfriend and I, traveling by streetcar from our respective rooming houses to Alki Beach to hear a band concert.  Radio was just beginning to come into being, but there were usually band concerts at various parks during the summer for entertainment.  

Tom Hanks at Alki in another romantic 

I don't know why, but as a teenager and on into my twenties, my warddrobe always contained a black dress or two.  My mother often chided me for wearing black, saying that I had plenty of time to wear it when I was old.  My answer would be, "I will wear bright colors when I am old."  I have not changed my mind concerning this answer, for in my old age, I still desire color in my warddrobe. 

On the day, so different from all the rest, I was wearing my favorite black dress and a black horsehair hat.  It was in an era when girls wore becoming things which made them look like ladies.  It was a "pre-flapper age," and skirts were worn just below the calf of the leg, and one did not think of going anywhere without a hat.  Hats were very important -- the right one could make you look beautiful -- or at least make one feel that way, and that was really what mattered most.  

The concert ended all too soon, but my friend Hagel and I were loath to leave.  It was such a treat here in the great outdoors with the waves of Puget Sound lapping at our feet.  We were ill-prepared for the two young men approaching.  There seemed to be nothing very outstanding in the one who approached me except for his eyes and his smile.  I have never been quite sure of the color of his eyes, but they appeared to be a sort of blue-grey, they were beautiful and had a way of looking at me in a caressing way.  His hair was dark.  I had always preferring blonds, but here was Ralph asking us to go to dinner with him and his friend.  

The Old Homestead on Alki

It solved a problem for Hagel and I for we were both short of funds.  It meant that our dinner would be paid for, also our streetcar fair home.  The "Old Homestead" restaurant was one of the very few places who served really good meals in the area of Alki so we went there for a delicious chicken dinner.  That was the beginning.  The next date was on Memorial Day when the four of us went back to Alki for a picnic.  There was a lovely path up on the hill a ways with blueberry bushes covered with the loveliest big blueberries, which we picked, eating a few. 

First Methodist Church on Capitol Hill, 
presumably the site where Ralph and Edith were
married.   The first pastor was Daniel Bagley, the
driving force behind establishing the University of
Washington in Seattle.
Ralph was eager for more and more dates, but I was not quite willing to give up dates with other young men.  There was a doctor's son in whom I was quite interested and two or three others.  But my hours were such that sometimes I was unable to go out for an evening because I was working late.  It seemed not to matter as to the lateness of the hour as far as Ralph was concerned, and so he often met me at the office when my shift was over.  We both liked to walk and we often walked in Volunteer Park and just enjoyed the warm summer evenings.  It was a case of love at first sight with him, and he often said that he proposed to me that very first night.  I'm not sure, but it was indeed a short courtship, for we were married six months later, on a dark dismal November, at a Methodist church on Capitol Hill in Seattle. 
My feelings were about as uncertain as the weather, but as the pastor finished the service, declaring us husband and wife, the sun broke through the clouds and rested on our heads.  A load lifted from my shoulders, for I felt it was God's blessing on our union.  

August 31, 1981

It seems to be the time that I must try to get all the loose ends of my life tied together in one package.  So often I have put down my thoughts in little pieces of notepaper, and often some of these have been lost or destroyed.  Because many of the things I have written, or perhaps I may say most of the things were written under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, so I feel they were worth preserving. 

Perhaps it is not strange that I feel impelled to write today.  It would have been my dad's birthday, and is also the forty-ninth birthday of John, my second son.  It seems so long ago that a squirming piece of humanity was placed in my arms and he seemed to look directly into my eyes, and at that first look, he entered into my heart. 

Those were the hard years of my life as we had gone through the great depression, and we had not yet seen the end of it.  It, I think changed my whole personality, for life just seemed to become one battle after another.  There was always the concern as to the proper food for the children, decent clothing and housing.  There were four now, with John's coming.  If one has never gone through all the pressures and worries of a depression such as this one, it is hard to imagine what a change it can make in one's personlity.  I had always been a very quiet, shy person who ran from trouble, now all of a sudden I found myself a mother lioness fighting for her whelps.  I was not a nice person to be around those days. 

I loved my family with a fierceness that was almost overwhelming.  It left me feeling helpless, there was so little I could do.  How I wish that I might have had the pleasure of prayer!  It would have made such a difference.  But both Ralph and I had not been to church in a long time, and when one ember is separated from the fire, it eventually goes out.  

But God was still on the throne and He still cared.  One night I was awakened by a voice calling my name. It was called three times - I still heart it after I was awake.  Suddenly I felt that I was being lifted, and I heard the sound of a great organ and voices "like the sound of many waters" singing and at the same time a fragrance not of this world seemed to fill the room. 

God still wanted me, and loved me! 

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me.  

I once was lost, but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see."

I'm really writing all this to you, my family.  Others would not be interested, perhaps you won't be either, but I try to do these things which please the Lord, and somehow I feel He wants me to do this.  It is, after all, to His glory.  I have gone into some things of the past -- things I would like to forget but feel somhow that they are vital to the present.  Only those who have suffered much are able to succor those who are "pressing through their valley of Baca." (Ps. 84)  Only those who have gone through a long drought can truly appreciate the pools of water."  It was a great day for me when I finally realizied the extreme drought in my life.  

It made a difference in Ralph, too, when he finally drank from that kind of water, Jesus talked to (the) "woman at the well" about.  His smoking caused me a great deal of concern as he often went to sleep while smoking and was always burning holes in his clothes and one time burnt a big hole in one of our best blankets.  There is always the danger of fire in which people lose their lives.  But praise God!  When Ralph accepted Him the smoking went along with other sins. 

There was a day, a dark cloudy day in November -- November 25, 1923 in fact -- when we repeated our vows to Rev. Fletcher in his office of the Capitol Hill Methodist church.  It was a day when, like most girls, I presume I was a little fearful, not sure that I was doing the right thing.  Then just as the pastor pronounced us man and wife, the sun broke through the clouds and just seemed to shine upon our heads.  It was to me like the blessing of God, and I felt better. 

The next day (Monday), we both went back to work; I as a telephone operator and he as a cable-slicer's helper.  I worked for a couple of years, and the third year, Gloria came to brighten our lives.  I thought she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.  She was a healthy bab -- so she was good. She cried only when she needed a change or when she was hungry. 

The golden curls she was born with were replaced by light brown, but she was nonetheless beautiful.  Her laughter was like music, and even her cries had a musical ring. 

Things were not going well financially, work was scarce and suddenly the depression was upon us.  Gloria was almost three, and another child was on the way.  Because things were so tight and no one that I really trusted to take care of Gloria, I persuaded my doctor to permit me to be delivered at home.  This one was to be a very special one, for God had touched me in a way I had never known before.  I think I must have felt much like Elizabeth felt when Mary went to tell her of the promised Messiah she was to bring forth, and we are told that the babe (she Elizabeth was carrying) leaped in her womb for joy and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. 

Whatever the reason, my health seemed to be better and I was less tired.  When Stan, this second baby, arrived just a week before my own birthday, he really just seemed like a gift from God.  He was somehow so different from new born babies.  There was no fist waving in the air, but he would lie in his little bed with his hands folded as if in prayer.  He was so good, and so sweet!  

He seemed to grow up so fast, and it was such a joy to watch him walking so quickly and quietly on his little toes.  He could just melt my heart looking at me so soberly with his big eyes and little dimpled chin.  He was so good, and always such a quiet little fellow.  Had I known what the years would bring forth, I might have felt a little like Mary as she cradled the Christ child in her arms.  Time can bring forth such fearful things.  Many times as my first-born son was in the midst of the II World War I felt as if I were being crucified along with him.  Had it not been for the comparison of Him who was crucified that awful day on an old rugged cross, we would never have made it.  How good God is!

Shirli, my second little girl, came just eighteen months after Stan, and she was such a sweet little baby, who grew up too fast.  She was the only one of our five children who seemed anxious to be born, and she always seemed just as anxious to grow up.  She ws always so lively and such a happy little girl and so beautiful!  

When Ronald, our fifth child, came along, she adored him and loved giving him his bottle and never seemed to tire waiting for him to finish.  His was a very difficult birth, but what a joy to hold this last beautiful son.  He had little blond curls, which I was very hesitant to sacrifice to the sheers. 

Looking back, I think how wonderfully God had provided.  We all had good health, and even as God promised to feed the little birds, we were worth more than many sparrows to Him. 

Had I known Him as I do now, it could have made much difference in our life, but God was leading one step at a time. 

John was born at a time when things were still depressed, but help was on the way.  I felt better that summer too than I had with the first three children.  I often went out very early in the morning in search of wild blackberries, and perhaps that was one reason I felt better.  The fresh air and exercise were good therapy for me.  

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Autobiography of Edith Marshall II

A Summer to Remember

Life was young and  life was sweet!  The First World War had not become a reality as yet, and we lived in ignorance of it becoming so.  Birch Bay was far removed from the cares of the world.  It was a beautiful resort place with a lovely pavilion where people gathered every Saturday night.  It had a very nice floor -- smooth glass and dancing was so enjoyable there.  

I was spending part of my summer there, and I look back upon that summer as the most enjoyable one of my entire teenage years.  It was the first Saturday night I had gone there was a boy friend and a couple of girl friends.  I was dressed in a white cotton dress with trimmings of black and white stripes.  My shoes were white, and I was bubbling over with youthful happiness.  

As we entered the pavilion, I looked across the room, my eyes encountering a young man leaning against the wall.  He was tall, slender, and blond.  A lock of hair over his forehead seemed to have a way of falling in the opposite direction of where it was supposed to go.  Little things that just stood out, which gave me a desire to meet him.  I said as much to my sister, and as though he had gotten the message, he crossed the room rapidly and asked for the next dance.  I can't remember whether it was a waltz, a two-step or what.  All I could think of was that I was dancing with him and I was very happy!  There were others, too many to count, but call it what you will, I was really hooked!  

I counted the days each week waiting for Saturday night.  My boy friend who was always so good to take me and my girl friends, did not dance himself but he said he wanted me to have a good time, even if it was with someone else.  

Each Saturday night my new "heart throb" was there and almost as soon as I entered the pavilion, he was there at my side.  Then all too soon it was the last Saturday for me.  I was going home.  I did not tell this handsome young man of my plans, and that last night as we danced cheek to cheek I felt that if we could just go on dancing and being held close by him I would be the happiest girl in the world.  But even then, I knew in my heart that nothing could come of it. 

It had been a beautiful summer, but now it was ended and I must return home and to school for another year.  I went out of his life, and he out of mine without a word -- leaving no address with him, not even telling him goodbye or that I would not be back.  Life it like that!  So many people in passing who could perhaps make for much happiness if only there was time.  But time moves on and so we must move with it.  But there are memories which come to us from time to time like perfume from a lovely rose.  

(Note: the following almost two pages are written quite faintly: I'll transcribe what I can.  After that, things become much clearer.  The date of 1920 is given for the car in a darker pen, and Grandma says this was a great treat for teenagers in the early 1920s, but Grandma would have been 20 in 1917 already, so that doesn't fit. -- DM.) 

Beatrice was my very closest friend, and when she suggested that I drive with her from Mount Vernon, WA, to Seattle, in the new Chevrolet her Dad had just purchased, I was delighted. 

Back in the early 20s that was quite a trip for two teenage girls.  After . . . Skagit County . . . (This paragraph is hard to make out)

We had left quite early in the morning, and arrived in Everett about noon.  Everett was quite a mill town, and gave every evidence of that fact, as the mill whistle blew for lunch, and workers began to appear as if by magic; they had been disgorged from the (smith's . . . ).  

. . . from Everett there were more woodlands and scattered farm-home.  The farms were smaller and more scattered than those we had known in the Skagit Valley, but mostly attractive and well-cared for.  

The trip was a very pleasant one, for Beatrice and I had much in common.  We (sang) and enjoyed every mile of the way.  I had made reservations at the Arlington Hotel for the night, and when arriving in Seattle, we made our way there.  

(The next paragraph is illegible to me.  Maybe someone else can make it out.  The following several paragraphs are spotty.) 

. . . home . . . by the University District where some of Beatrice's family lived.  We spent a short time walking along Lake Washington, enjoying the beauty of the day and of the area.  

We had . . . driven a third of the way home . . . to Beatrice, that something was wrong . . . I said, 'Beatrice, I'm not going to . . . '  

Beatrice pulled over to the side of the road, opened the . . . under the seat where we had just sat . . . and taking . . . 

(The rest of this story is illegible, and then a stronger pen takes over.  I rearrange the following sections, however, to place more of Grandma's Skagit experiences before experiences involving World War I, the move to Seattle, and influenza . . . it appears that the following chapter will being with a story that takes place at Alki Beach.)

The County Fair

When I look back upon the years I keep wondering about the special days such as the Fourth of July, the County Fairs and celebrations that were so important to us in those days.  Of course there was a certain excitement with great crowds of people coming to town to partake in it.  I usually went to such celebrations with my sister or perhaps a friend or two. 

Perhaps one that I enjoyed more than any other was the County Fair, where there was much to see besides people.  One night we went with a couple of young men, and we had such an enjoyable time.  I still can't remember what we saw as to displays, but we were having so much fun, they didn't seem important.  

I can't remember either what I wore, except a new black velvet (looks like "tam and shanter?)"   ) with a red feather on one side.  The young man with me liked it too, and he proceeded to take possession, wearing it as gauntily as a (Sear's?) man would.  

Strange how such small things remain as little shalfts of sunlight peaking through the clouds on a dark day.   This McFee was indeed a Scotsman who made one feel sort of special just being with him.  I indeed carried a torch for him many days. 

The Square Dance

Living in the country all the years of my young life, there was little entertainment, except perhaps a movie on Saturday night and church on Sunday, so it was a real lark for me when a young man who was living in a small house we had rented to him, asked me to accompany him to a square dance being held at his brother's house, who lived five or six miles further out in the country. 

There were very few cars being used then, and Jim had called for me with a nice buddy drawn by two beautiful horses.  As we went farther out into the country, the road seemed to get worse by the moment.  It caused me to wonder if Jim deliberately hit all the rough spots, which threw me against him, which seemed to please him.  He knew I was fearful of being thrown out, or the buggy being tipped over in one of the deep ruts.  But he was very pleased with himself -- was he not being the big strong man who had everything under control -- even if I wasn't?  

Arriving at his brother's home, I was received royally -- for wasn't I Jim's girl? 

The night went all too quickly.  The house was filled with young people.  I did not know how to square dance as all I knew was ballroom dancing.  This presented no problems as all of the young men were eager to teach me, and it wasn't hard as we listened to the man who called out 

In 1923 I moved to Seattle where I had a job with the telephone company.  It was difficult for me coming to a strange city, not knowing anyone.  But I felt constrained to go.  

(Next: A Meeting at Alki)

Monday, December 20, 2021

Autobiography of Edith Marshall I

There is No End

The Date and Place . . .
It was the year 1897, the month of April, day 22nd. A baby girl was born -- the seventh child in a family of eight. The place, a small town in the state of Ark, a town so small that it doesn't even appear on the map. Our farm was so large -- a whole section of land, and afforded almost everything we needed at home. There was an orchard that yielded a bounty of apples, peaches and plums. The fields produced plenty of corn, some of which my dad my dad would take the mill to ground into meal. The cattle and pigs produced the milk, butter and meat for the table. The chickens gave us the eggs and sometimes fried or roast chicken. There was also a surplus of wild pigeons and turkeys that my Dad often hunted.
Our home was built of logs at a time when the country was torn by the Civil War. My grandparents had moved from Texas to Arkansas in an effort to escape some of the havoc of that war . . .
The house had remained very much as it had been during my maternal grandparents' time, who had built it. There was a large stone fireplace on one side of the wall in the room where we always gathered on Sunday night, where we children liked to eat our cornbread and milk before the fire. Sometimes my older sister would make toffy from the homemade sorgum and it was a real fine time for me. She was my favorite sister for she was so understanding and good to me.
Looking back at those days that were so unhurried, so blessed with each season's produce, the green vegetables in the spring, the melons and fruit of summer, and the yielding of grapes and nuts of the autumn, yet, my Dad was always talking of going west . . . I suppose stories of those who had come to Washington State had come to him, causing him to desire to make the change. I'm sure that God must have been in it for our lives are not our own. He has planned our lives long before we are born. And so we came to Wash. state!

We traveled by wagon with our trunks and such possessions as we brought, to the nearest railroad station at Gravette. One of my aunts lived there and we stayed overnight with her, catching the next train out in the morning. Trains those day swere much to be desired. The coaches were often cold and uncomfortable, sometimes so warm that the windows were opened for a breath of air. This had to be watched by the conductor as we went through many tunnels on our way west. If one window was left slightly open the coach would fill with smoke from the train's smoke-stack.

Arriving in Kansas City, Missouri, we had to change trains. This was the first time that my sister Sue and I had ever seen a negro. It was also the first indoor toilet that we had ever seen, and we were intrigued with the long chain we could pull sending water into the toilet bowl, from the high tank. It gave us a chance to catch a glimpse of the black woman who did the cleaning and who became impatient with our many trips to the restroom.

Only Dad could have sustained my poor mother on that trip. There was not much rest or sleep for her with three of us younger ones sharing the two seats for the first days it took to make the trip. But my mother was one of those rare persons who gave without even a thought of rewards. She was one who could sing to me and soothe my earaches or whatever seemed to affect me. She had many old-fashioned remedies, too, which always seemed to work. Her voice had a sweet high quality which I loved and which was admired by all who heard her. She often sang with a group who entertained with their acapello choir.

My dad was quite a social lion in his younger days, but after the change of environment, he discovered that life was much different than it had been previously. There was work to be done on the farm in Washington State such as he had never done before. There were trees to cut and stumps to be removed such as he had no experience in before. There was a barn to build along with a new house, a chicken house, and fences. The crops to be planted were also different from those in the south. No sweet potatoes or melons, no peanuts or gubers as we called them. Irish potatoes, peas, beans, and such vegetables as did not need to heat of the south were substituted. This was a way of life that we had not known, and it was especially irksome to my dad, who wanted to return to Ark. But this was one time that my dear mother stood firm. She had seen her old house sold with all of its wide acres of farmland, fruit and hardwood forests, and now she had nothing to which to return.

It was a time of growing, building and learning many things. It was not an easy time for me as a child. I was a very shy person, and perhaps because of that, some children picked on me, until sometimes I just wished I could disappear. But I was learning and eventually becoming more able to cope with life. God does not put us in the world just to leave us at its mercy. I have felt his Divine guidance throughout my whole life, even when I did not know Him.

I have always loved to read and whatever books came into my hands were very quickly read and often re-read. Poetry has always been irresistable to me and I memorized a great many poems from the second grade on through high school.

Only one thing interested me more than reading a story: to listen to a good story-teller. Such a one was a little old lady whom everyone called Grandma Mitchell. She made the rounds visiting all her old friends once or twice a month. Grandma was small and the best words I can find to describe her was, "the little grey lady." She never wore any color that I was aware of, just greys and blacks seemed to be the limit of colors in her wardrobe. Just a drab little woman, you say? Not on your life! Grandma Mitchell was all fire and warmth inside. She never forgot the fire of her youth in crossing the plains in a covered wagon: the nights around the campfires, people banding together as a protection against the Indians.

Grandma knew how to tell these stories in such a way that she could hold us spellbound as we sat at her feet all ears and literally tingling with expectancy as the stories progressed.

There was probably much fear on both sides as the people pressed further and further west; the Indians fearful of what the white man would do, and the white man fearful of what he and his family might be facing. Grandma was made of that sturdier stuff, like those who came before, withstanding disease, sickness, and even death because of faith in One who had conquered it all, and was the real leader into the unknown. Grandma told of the many kind Indians who came with offerings of corn, wild turkeys or perhaps venison. The white people often repaid them with perhaps medicine for one of their tribe who was suffering from disease, and often went with them to minister as best they could.

Grandma had many funny stories to tell as well as those horrifying ones of Indian attacks on the wagon trains. One she told a a little white woman being left alone in a little log cabin while her husband hunted for wild turkes or other wild food. An Indian brave walked in and was about the help himself to some food she was preparing. Picking up a hot skillet she chased him from the cabin. He flet in terror of that hot skillet.

There were stories of nights of terror and nights of hope. The strongest only survived. The weak ones were often overcome by hunger and sickness, then death would take its toll. Many graves were left along the trail as a witness to the price paid by those who came before.

But those who were strong and survived the rigors of the long trek west, opened up a brand new land and a new life for those of us who were to come later. Besides the barren plaiuns and a scarcity of water, of heat that seemed to scorch through their very vitals, there were poisononous snakes and often wild animals, also the unfriendly Indians. But those who came through just as Grandma Mitchell, were led by something greater, a () that led even as the Children of Israel were led into a land that had been prepared for those of faith in the move them were making.

There were weddings among the travelers, and soemtimes a birth for these were a people who loved, a people who cared for one another. They needed each other. They were learning a lesson many have never learned that there is a strength in love, in caring for those who are needy and less able to help themselves.

Grandma has made her last trip - her final one across the Great Divide. She is gone from us but the memory of a great and valiant little lady lingers in the heart of a child who can see.

First Love

There was a time, that I might call the age of innocence. It was a time when the world was peaceful, as far as we knew it. There was always hope, and something to look forward to.

At the time I was fifteen, an age when girls (boys too, I suppose) begin to dream dreams. Many hours of each day I spent day-dreaming. To me at that age, nothing was impossible, so if my dreams were all far-fetched, as a better-informed person could have reminded me, it made no difference to me. I had read many books, and had not things always turned out well for those who really believed in themselves?

One (day) after school, a boy I had known ever since we were in the second or third grade, was waiting for me and we walked home from school together. It was a nice feeling being with him, even though we practically walked on opposite sides of the road. I always knew the days when he planned to walk me home for he always came to school dressed in his Sunday best.

My mother was very much opposed to him walking me home, because he came from a broken home, which amounted to a disgrace in those days. The result was that he only walked part of the way, and we would just stand and talk for a while. But that didn't work out because of a neighbor's wagging tongue. He would tell my sister when she would go home from work, and she would tell mother.

There had to be another way to avoid that gossipping neighbor, so we went to a () round-about way which led through a pasture which ended across the (field) from my home.

I don't remember what we talked about, but it didn't seem to matter: just being together was enough.

Then one day my mother opened a letter he had mailed to me. It was a love letter and my mother was furious. It probably caused her to distrust her, even though she had never spoken these words to me. In the letter he asked me to go to a party being given by one of his boy friend's mothers, with him. After reading the letter, mother wouldn't let me go. I was very bitter towards my mother for a long time.

Our friendship continued for some time, whenever we had the opportunity to see each other, but there was never an endearing name or a word of love from him. Our friendship was sweet and wholesome such as one doesn't see these days -- and so it ended as it should, with just kind and generous thoughts toward each other.

He was leaving to go live with his father, and I (returned) to my day-dreaming.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Announcement: UW Ratio Christi


This past summer, I was asked to serve as Chapter Director of an organization called Ratio Christi ("The Reason of Christ") at the University of Washington in Seattle. After getting to know one another, and a wad of paperwork, I have now begun to act in that capacity. (And may help this organization in other ways, we'll see.)

The University of Washington is one of the world's leading research schools . With 48,000 students and 5,800 academic staff, it is by far the largest university in the Northwest. Among those who have studied or taught there:

* Pappy Boyington, World War II ace who led the Black Sheep Squadron. ("Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" -- highly fictionalized TV series.)

* Ted Bundy, infamous serial killer.

* Bruce Lee, who could have ended Bundy's career quickly.

* Bill Gates learned how to program as a high school student on UW computers.

* Robin DiAngelo wrote White Fragility, making her one of the most influential opinion molders in America.

* Rodney Stark, the great sociologist of religion, from whom I and other Christian thinkers have learned much, taught at the UW for 32 years.

* Tom Foley served as Speaker of the House.

I am a Husky, too. I earned my BA and MA at Washington, largely at the Jackson School of International Studies.

Hundreds of thousands who will shape the world for good or evil come to the UW to have their minds shaped. Who will do the shaping? It would be unfair to describe the UW a "woke madrassa." A student can still get an excellent, not overly-ideological, education in STEM, medicine, or business. But many departments, and even the otherwise wonderful library system, render uncritical fealty to the holy trinity of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on their home pages. Even unbelieving or left-wing professors have told me stories that reveal the indoctrination and even Cancel Culture at work in some fields: Quillette has even run articles about such phenomena at Washington.

Like all major universities, many Christian organizations serve the Husky study body. But none, besides Ratio Christi, seem to offer in-depth training in Christian thought and apologetics.

What is Ratio Chrisi?

Jesus told us to "Love the Lord your God with all your mind." Ratio Christi helps college students and professors gain sound reasons to believe the Christian faith. It is a fairly new ministry, which has taken off mostly in the United States but also overseas. RC works with churches and other ministries.

The UW chapter of RC was set up a few years ago: after some bureaucratic opposition, it is now a recognized club that meets once a week at the Husky Union Building (HUB) to discuss truth from a Christian perspective. About ten students come at present. The student president is a smart and enthusiastic young woman, supported by other students. I have been participating since the beginning of the school year, on a small scale, which I plan to ramp up, now.

My Background and Duties

This sort of ministry is, you may see, up my alley. I have been in teaching for some 20 years. Most of my fourteen or so books are in apologetics. While my PhD is in "Theology of Religions," especially in the Chinese context, my arguments for the Christian faith have covered a wide range: faith and reason, historical evidences for Jesus, Critical Race Theory, the history of missions, how Christianity has improved society, and of course, World Religions.

My writing has been described as "careful scholarship, (a) depth of insight and logical analysis matched only by his illustrative genius" (Ivan Satyavrata); "Spectacularly argued, spectacularly written, and even more spectacularly timely;" (Ralph Winter); "cultural analysis several levels deeper, and in prose that is several levels higher, than we've come to expect;" (Frederica Matthewes-Green); and "deep, original . . . Stimulating and provocative" (Tony Lambert), to give a few quotes.

What will my concrete responsibilities be, besides teaching some of this stuff?

* Network with other ministries for mutual support and to present the Gospel to Husky students and staff.
* Give support, encouragement, and guidance to students.
* Two or so public outreach events each year.
* Get to know and support professors, and to give them an opportunity to support students.

In addition, I also hope to:

* Support RC and other local ministries in other ways.
* Continue writing and speaking. My new book, The Case for Aslan: Evidence for Jesus in the Land of Narnia, is due out early next year. That is essentially an overall apologetic for the Christian faith, in light of C. S. Lewis' seemingly lightest works. A more cutting-edge volume, "How Jesus Liberates Women" is also nearing completion. I also continue to write regular articles for The Stream. Presently I am doing a series on the growing conflict between China and America.

I welcome invitations to speak, almost anywhere in the world, or online.

How can you help?

If you would like to be involved, I'd love to tell you more! "The fields are purple and gold to the harvest!" Chapter directors raise support for themselves, and their chapters, along with some administrative costs. There may be volunteer opportunities as well, and your prayers would be appreciated. Please contact me for more information.